Today, Patrick Murphy is being forced to return thousands in contributions after being caught up in yet another “straw donor” scheme.
Murphy is being forced to give up over $20,000 in tainted campaign contributions he received from a Boston law firm. “Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) is returning money he received from a fundraiser with a Boston law firm. Murphy, who is running for Senate against incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) in a race that could decide which party controls the upper chamber in 2017, has decided to donate $21,800 to the U.S. Treasury, according to his campaign spokesman. Murphy’s decision came after a Saturday report about Boston’s Thornton Law Firm from the Boston Globe Spotlight team and the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog. The report said that lawyers with Thornton received bonuses totaling more than $1 million that reimbursed their political donations to Democratic political candidates. Reimbursing people for their political donations in order to skirt legal donation is generally against the law. In a ‘straw donor’ system, the true source of the donation can be hidden. Such schemes can also be used to get around political donation limits.” (The Hill, 10/31/16)
In September, the FEC began scrutinizing Murphy for alleged “illegal contributions” from Saudi donors. “The country’s top election watchdog is scrutinizing donations to the Democrats’ newly minted candidate to take on Marco Rubio for his Florida senate seat. The Federal ElectionCommission, the government body that oversees campaign finance, is reviewing a complaint alleging that the campaign of Rep. Patrick Murphy accepted potentially illegal contributions in 2011. … The complaint by the Republican super-PAC claims that a donor and childhood friend of Murphy’s, Ibrahim Al-Rashid, avoided campaign contribution limits by using the names of employees and the parents of his then-partner as “straw donors” when the money really came from the Al-Rashid family. A total of $24,000 was involved. Ibrahim and his brother Ramzi, also named on the complaint, are the sons of a powerful, and politically-connected Saudi billionaire. Ibrahim Al-Rashid has been major financial benefactor of Murphy’s, giving almost $400,000 to his campaigns and outside groups supporting Murphy since the Florida congressman first ran in 2012.” (The Hill, 9/2/16)
Murphy is also being forced to answer questions about who paid him for the $1 million worth of campaign stock he sold to buy TV ads.
Tampa Bay Times: “Patrick Murphy sold stock in family company to cover last-minute $1M campaign loan.” “Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy says he sold personal stock in his family’s construction company, Miami-based Coastal Construction Group, in order to afford a recent $1 million loan to his campaign. Murphy’s campaign announced the loan last week as something that would give the cash-strapped Jupiter congressman additional resources to run TV ads across the state in the final two weeks of his bid to unseat Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio, however, has questioned how Murphy could have come by such a hefty loan when Murphy doesn’t have the cash assets to cover it, based on his most recent congressional financial disclosure.” (Tampa Bay Times, 10/30/16)
Murphy’s campaign “did not respond to to a follow-up inquiry about to whom Murphy sold his investment.” “Murphy’s campaign later Sunday did not respond to a follow-up inquiry about to whom Murphy sold his investment. Coastal is a private, family-owned company founded and managed by Murphy’s father, Tom Murphy Jr. — who has spent at least $2.8 million this cycle on Democratic efforts supporting his son’s Senate run. Patrick Murphy’s financial disclosure from 2015 shows his net worth was between $72,000 and almost $4.8 million — much of that coming from stock in Coastal worth between $1 million and $5 million. The investment was a ‘gift’ from Murphy’s father in 2012 before Murphy took office.” (Tampa Bay Times, 10/30/16)
Murphy was met with several protesters in his hometown when he voted early today.
Palm Beach Post: At early voting, Murphy was met with “chants of ‘Privileged Patrick,’ ‘No way CPA’ and ‘You’re a bum.'” “Ignoring chants of ‘Privileged Patrick,’ ‘No way CPA’ and ‘You’re a bum,’ U.S. Senate candidate and current U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, came Monday morning to the offices of the Palm Beach County supervisor of elections to do early voting.'” (Palm Beach Post, 10/31/16)
CBS 12: “As he made his way to the polls, those in support, and those who oppose, let their voices be heard.” (CBS 12, 10/31/16)
To top it off, the Florida Sunday show coverage of Murphy’s campaign was brutal.
ABC Miami Panel Agrees Murphy Has Run A “Terrible” Campaign
Attorney Marili Cancio: “Murphy has a horrible campaign.”
ABC Miami’s Michael Putney: At the debate, “Marco Rubio had a much better night.”
Politico’s Marco Caputo: “The problem that you see with Patrick Murphy is that his campaign is Trump … And that doesn’t move people.”
Florida’s Brian Crowley: “Murphy’s campaign has baffled me.”
Brian Crowley: You know, the week, there are a lot of Cubs fans praying for a miracle, and you get the feeling there are a lot of Murphy fans right now who are praying for a miracle for his campaign. Just — you know, Murphy’s campaign has baffled me ever since Marco Rubio announced he was going to run for re-election. It’s almost like they didn’t know quite what to do. Murphy still at this — you know, whether a little over a week left in the campaign is still unknown by a lot of Florida voters. The job of a campaign over the last year should have been to make sure that Murphy had a very high name recognition, especially once Marco Rubio got in where everybody in Florida knows who Marco Rubio is.
Michael Williams: “What did he need to do? What does he need to do with nine days later.”
Brian Crowley: “Well, to be a little selfish, he probably should have spent more time on this show earlier in the year, and shows like it around the state, getting that free media that has worked so well for some candidates. I think he’s needed to be more aggressive on some of the issues. I think it’s very interesting that, you know, even the national senate campaign committees started to abandon him. Harry Reid’s PAC is come back into the race a little bit. But it wasn’t a strong sign for him when these people started pulling out and he really hasn’t done enough to, he’s going after Rubio and Rubio’s failure to withdraw his endorsement, you know, endorsement of Donald Trump. You know, that — at some point that starts to get wearisome with voters.”